Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I don't think I have ever been more excited for a Thanksgiving. The closest I've come to being this excited was during the college years when I was tired of dining hall food and looking forward to a feast of home cooking for the holidays.
But no, even dining hall food blues did not come close to building up the excitement I'm feeling this year, which will be my son Rye's first Thanksgiving, and celebrated at my mother-in-law's house with all of our family there - all his grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even his first cousin, who is just six weeks old. What a blessing!
Rye is a great eater, even eating spinach, beets and cauliflower - a vegetable I'm not particularly fond of but realize it's something I should try to get my son to accept early on. He has recently been a little picky about parsnips, but if I mask them with enough sweetness - from butternut squash or a fruit - he will eat them readily. I can't even get my husband to eat parsnips.
Often Rye's foods are a mixed bowl, such as tomato and spinach with rice cereal, but for his first Thanksgiving, I want to let him eat all of his foods separately on a plate like the grown-ups. Maybe I'll even mush up some turkey so he can try his first meat on this momentous occasion!
This holiday will be more about family than food, as more of our siblings get married and start spending holidays with their new in-laws. So in order to focus on family this year, we decided to keep the meal simple. Not all the favorites have to be there, and each person was only asked to bring one dish (though I'm not sure everyone is going to stick with that). I'm officially making the crispy kale (with Gruyere) that I shared the recipe for last week, and unofficially bringing a chocolate pear cake because I think my brother and I will be the only ones to enjoy it, and we don't get together as often as I would like.
But as for this week's recipes, I'm going back to my theme of foods that I am thankful for. This week I'm kind of cheating - I'm going with appetizers. Appetizers can cover all the food groups, they come in small portions, they can be decadent or healthy and they're fun.
My favorite time to have appetizers is when my husband and I go on bed and breakfast vacations, where you eat this great big breakfast that keeps you full until well after noon, then we have a late lunch, and by dinner time, are only slightly hungry, so we just go out for drinks and appetizers instead of dinner.
I also like parties that just have appetizers, though the hearty kind. I won't touch a veggie platter until I start feeling guilty for eating the heavy stuff. But it's all about portion control, and I find that pretty easy when you use a plate, fill it with what you are going to allow yourself to eat, and then call it quits after you finish your plate.
So here are three appetizer recipes that I think would be great party food, though maybe a little too filling to be eaten pre-meal.
Enjoy, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!